Elon Musk’s dream to launch a starship to Mars someday was supposed to have begun yesterday with the first test of its rocket prototype on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 near Boca Chica Beach, Texas.
Unfortunately, it ended up in a fireball.
SpaceX, founded by Musk, tested the rocket prototype for its future starship and it was broadcast live by a group of local residents near to the launching area. It was a disappointment to all and at the present time there is no news as what may have caused the rocket prototype to end up in a fireball.
The rocket prototype was attached to the rocket ship named Starhopper which was more than 60 feet in height and its width 30 feet across. Attached to the rocket ship’s base would have been a single Raptor engine and SpaceX’s hopeful plans were to test-fire the rocket then show how it would work.
If yesterdays test of the prototyperocket would have been successful then a test launch of the rocket ship Starhopper would have taken place today, Wednesday, July 17, and tested, from maneuvering it to fly 65 feet into the air, hover then move sideways then landback on the exact same launchpad it took off from. This was Musk’s hopes he tweeted yesterday.
Starhopper is just a test module and was never designed to fly into space let alone to Mars. Its purpose was to test technology for a larger more powerful vehicle named Starship. Prior tests since April of 2019 has had Starhopper tethered by its legs with every subsequent test lifting it higher a few inches at a time. Yesterdays launch was completely untethered.
Testing of the rocket prototype also includes Musk’s hopes for re-usability of the rockets and starships to reduce cost.
Starship is planned to be massive at 400 feet in height with the capacity to hold 100 people as well as 100 tons of cargo to either the moon or Mars. Compare that to the US space shuttles which were around 184 feet tall and usually carried about 7 astronauts and with the capacity for around 30 tons of cargo.
Eventually, Musks’s dream is to provide regular space travel to anyone interested who can afford it, transporting passengers half way around the world in around half an hour and also with the dream of human colonization on Mars someday.